United States Obtains $607,284 for False Crop Insurance Claims – Vanessa R. Waldref, U.S. Attorney for the District of New York, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has obtained a judgment of $607,284 against Rick T. “Ricky” Gray for submitting false and fraudulent crop insurance claims. Under the False Claims Act, Gray was held accountable for fraudulently obtaining federal crop insurance coverage.
The federal crop insurance program is administered by the USDA. It provides financial assistance to farmers whose crops may be lost as a result of weather or other factors.
In 2015, Gray filed false loss claims that resulted in hundreds of thousands in compensation payments. In August of 2021, a complaint was filed claiming that Gray had intentionally submitted false claims statements in 2015. According to Waldref, Gray falsely reported a loss of over $35,000 in wheat, resulting in $180,000 in indemnity payments that he was not eligible for.
Waldref says the False Claims Act requires Gray to pay back triple the damages. Gray will be fined $607,284 plus the maximum penalty.
The USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator, Marcia Bunger, said, “We will continue to protect the public’s confidence in the crop insurance system by working closely with OIG, DOJ and other agencies to investigate and pursue cases of crop insurance fraud, misuse and abuse.”
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